Friday, July 22, 2016

Fourteenth Set of 22 Days: Nun Sofit, the Palm and the Tapuach (Etrog/Apple) (the Priestly Family of Yakim)

This coming Shabat, the 17th of Tammuz, begins the fourteenth set of 22 days of the Jewish calendar, which parallels the end-letter Nun (Nun Sofit), as well as the Palm Tree and the Tapuach (Etrog/Apple) in Perek Shirah. This 22-day period coincides with the Three Weeks of mourning from the the fast of the 17th of Tammuz to the fast of the 9th of Av. This cycle also contains the yahrzeit of the Ari HaKadosh on the 5th of Av and the birth of Mashiach on the 9th of Av.

As mentioned previously, the Nun stands for the Divine attribute (sefirah) of Malchut, Kingship, and is related to one of the names for Mashiach: Yinon. (Likutei Moharan) Nun also means "fish" in Aramaic, and is associated closely with Moshe. Joshua is called Yehoshua Bin Nun, the son of Nun, because a teacher (in this case, Moshe) is like a parent. The Nun also represents the idea of a faithful servant. While the regular Nun is bent, the final Nun is an unbounded straight line, reaching even below the "resting place" of the regular letters. (Rabbi Ginsburgh) The final Nun represents Mashiach's ability to infuse even the lowliest of realms with G-dliness. The final Nun also has the shape of an extended vav, which stands for uprightness.

Much of the suffering the Jewish people has endured during these three weeks is to lead us to a state of uprightness. These three weeks are also very much associated with the coming of Mashiach, who will be the ultimate example of such uprightness.

The above also appears to parallel the song of the animal for week 42 (Book 1), the Hound, which starts on the 18th of Tammuz. The hound's verse is "Let the righteous rejoice in G-d; praise is befitting to the upright." (Psalms 33:1)
 
A similar theme can be found regarding the elements in Perek Shirah.

The Palm is saying, "The righteous will flourish like the palm tree; they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon." (Psalms 92:13)

The Tapuach (Esrog/Apple) is saying, "Like the Tapuach tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among young men. I sat down under his shadow with delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." (Song of Songs 2:3)

The Palm Tree is straight and upright, compared in the verse to the Tzadik. The cedar, also mentioned in this verse, is also tall and strong. Levanon, mentioned in this verse, is also a reference to the Temple. The first and second temples were destroyed during this time of the year because of corruption. The third one will be rebuilt when the Jewish people will be straight and upright, and will last forever.

The Tapuach, whether it represents the Etrog or the Apple,  is associated with the Garden of Eden - a state of closeness with G-d, which we will reach in the Messianic era.

The Temple guard for these 22 days is connected to the priestly family of Yakim. The root of this name comes from the word "to raise up, establish." After letting us fall during this difficult time of the year, it will be also during this time that Hashem will raise us up and establish us and His Temple forever.

The word Yakim is also found in a separate verse in the Torah:  "A prophet from among you, from your brothers, like me, the Lord, your God will set up (Yakim) for you; you shall hearken to him." (Devarim 18:15) As previously explained, Mashiach will be a prophet very much like Moshe himself.
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